Former Stanford University student and swimmer Brock Turner faces six months in county jail for three felony charges related to his sexual assault of an unconscious woman in 2015. Brian Banks told the New York Daily News that he believes Turner got off easy because of his image.
“I would say it’s a case of privilege,” said Banks, a former professional football player and current NFL staffer. “It seems like the judge based his decision on lifestyle. He’s lived such a good life and has never experienced anything serious in his life that would prepare him for prison. He was sheltered so much he wouldn’t be able to survive prison. What about the kid who has nothing, he struggles to eat, struggles to get a fair education? What about the kid who has no choice who he is born to and has drug-addicted parents or a non-parent household? Where is the consideration for them when they commit a crime?”
Banks, who is Black, knows something about this disproportionate justice. As the Daily News notes, he was accused of rape at age 16 and tried as an adult. He served five years and two months of a six-year sentence before his accuser recanted her story in 2012.
“You know a man is guilty, so why aren’t we unleashing half of the punishment that was unleashed on Brian Banks when he was innocent and there was no evidence?” Banks said in the interview. “They gave me six years. They gave him six months.”
He also said that the woman who survived Turner’s rape, whose powerful statement to the court was published by Buzzfeed on Friday, ”has been totally ignored” and “has to live with her hardship and tragedy for the rest of her life.”
As of press time, more than 300,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the removal of Aaron Persky, the Santa Clara County superior court judge—and Stanford alumnus—who handled Turner’s sentencing. Per the petition: “Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a White male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency.”
Read the full Daily News interview here.